One of our readers, Bea, sent this quote to me.
“If you buy what you don’t need you steal from yourself”.
You are stealing from yourself by wasting your money on more unneeded things (or junk).
People are also stealing their freedom from themselves. They go into debt to buy things and they are chained to that debt from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed.
Even if they don’t go into debt, they still lose their freedom because then they have to use their time, energy and money to take care of these things and to store them. Instead of being able to spend the day or their time on something more worthwhile or to spend it with their kids, they have to use their time taking care of things.
We are stealing our peace. Too much stuff can be so overwhelming. When I first became sick with my CFS, I had a closet full of clothes. Just trying to make the decision about what to wear for the day became overwhelming for me because I had so much to choose from. I ended up picking 3 outfits out and packed the rest away. It was so freeing and I had one less worry for the day.
Now I have gone back to having more clothes but I really learned a lesson. The more things I had, the more decisions I had to make and the harder those decisions were. Think for a moment about how much time you spend each morning with your kids trying to decide what kind of cereal they want from the 3-5 boxes they have to pick from. How much time is spent choosing clothes for the day or which toys they will play with?
We talk about things being so stressful now but a lot of the time we make our own stress. We set ourselves and our children up for having to make too many decisions each day.
Do you really need more toys, clothes, electronic games for entertainment, purses or shoes? Buy one kind or at the most two kinds of shampoo, conditioner, cleaners, etc.
Don’t steal any more money, time or peace from yourself. Don’t buying more than you need.
Jill, I have been reflecting on that Swedish Proverb and it had me thinking of the ways in which we steal from ourselves when we go into unnecessary debt to have more things. There are people I know who are trapped into working at jobs that are too stressful because of all the debt they’re in. They don’t have the freedom to take a less stressful, lower paying job, because they can’t afford it. I also know people that are having their first child and the mother won’t be able to stay home because of the debts they have. Also, people steal from their own future because debt takes away the freedom to change your life. Maybe you would like to move and can’t afford to or stop working for awhile to take a break. They are many ways in which unnecessary debt steals from our lives. Jill, I agree with you too about having too many choices in our lives. There are studies that have proven how stressful those choices are. Many people are overwhelmed going into a supermarket. Every product has too many choices. Do you pick the detergent with whiteners or baking soda or the one that smells like a waterfall or apples? Do you pick orange juice with calcium or without, with pulp or without? People stand there in confusion and it’s more stress in their lives. There are studies you can read on the internet on this subject. Cereals are another thing. Too many. What flavor, whole grain or not? In your cookbook Jill, I read the ingredients you can put into oatmeal to have variety and that is enough for me. I buy oatmeal and change around the add-ins. Less stress. Sometimes I will add a little peanut butter and other times minature marshmallows and a tablespoon of choc chips or fruit of some kind. No need for 5 or 6 boxes of cold expensive cereals sitting around getting stale. Also, there are studies of how much food people end up throwing away because it goes bad. More money wasted. As for clothes I agree less is more. I have scaled down. I actually envy Nuns who wear a habit every day. Less things to worry about. Even school children with uniforms are luckier than they think. It’s a good idea to reflect on how debt steals from your life and well-being.
What a great quote! I have been doing the “simpler life” for a little over a year now. I was down to 2 pairs of jeans until one of them got a hole in them. I finally broke down and purchased 4 new pairs of jeans. I also have 3 pairs of sweats – two of which have stains on but it’s not a big deal since I don’t wear them outside the house. I chose to do all of this so that I could pay off my bills and not live payday to payday. I can now say that I don’t have any credit card bills because of that. Unfortunately, I do have a truck bill which is killer. I don’t live payday to payday now but I still have some debt I’d like to get rid of. My mantra when I walk into a store is “do I need this or do I want this?” If it’s a want, it goes back. I guess I’ve become somewhat infectious because I’ve started getting friends and family to do the same. It’s helped them to save money too.
Denise that is great. At at the rate you are going you will have your debt gone before you know it. I always love hearing success stories. Thanks.
If anyone is interested we have an article on the web site which is a suggested list of how many clothes people really need. I put extra on the list because I thought many of us would have to ease our way into it but you might check it out. Just type in How many clothes do you need? in the search box and it will pop up for you.
Bea you are right. You said all I wanted to say but was afraid you guys would think I was to long winded : ) so I’m glad you added these other things.
thanks for the timely advice… and its excellent too!!! …
you are so right when you say some dont have the freedom to take a lesser pay/stressful job bc of debt…
my sister (in fl) is this person!… her boss is a real barracuda! (nice word!) and makes my sister’s life a living h**l!… my sister and her used to get along but ever since my sister started to further her education, and well, does have lots more exp than her, this woman isnt very nice (not only to my sister but to others as well)… and my sister, bc of her debts, can not afford to leave her job …
and well, instead of letting the negativity get to her, she has decided to use this to her advantage, she keeps herself in a positive mood (no matter what!), is super nice to this woman and even smiles all day long (no matter how much stress is in the office)… and well, so far, the positiveness is catching on… lots of the other workers are copying my sister … but the manager still seems to like to ruffle those feathers!…
yes, thanks for the timely advice… it really goes well with the spring cleaning… (which we are still in the middle of!)… :D :D
Jill, I personally would never think you are too long-winded. I love to read your blog and re-read things all the time to stay inspired. I wanted to tell you about a book I just discovered that I think you may be interested in reading yourself. It’s called, “Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture” by Shannon Hayes. I haven’t read it myself. I just read the reviews on the internet and think it’s worth getting. Even though I work, I like to read books like that to get ideas.
Thanks Bea, I’ll have to check that one out. I love reading almost anything on homemaking. I have always been so disappointed for years at how few good books there are the subject. I have never been able to understand why they don’t have more because no matter what you do and who you are you still need to know basic cleaning, fixing meals and everything else which goes along with homemaking.
Once again thanks for the tip.
Tawra, I’m so glad I found your blog. I just made your chocolate syrup recipe from your cookbook. I bought the book several years ago when you were active on the ivillage frugal living board. I have used it so many times it is such a great resource. Thank you!
Jill, I don’t know either why it’s so hard to find books on homemaking skills. You are right about the need never going away, to know domestic things, no matter who you are, but I think it’s not “politically correct” in today’s world to promote skills at home. Some people think it’s too old-fashioned or not feminist enough. I usually find good cookbooks and books on homemaking in second-hand shops or sometimes on the internet with places that sell older books. I have some good ones that were written in the 1920’s that are fun to read.
An excellent post, and I agree with you completely. I lived with my mom and stepdad growing up, and stayed with my dad and stepmom dring the summers, and I couldn’t help noting the completely different lifestyles. My mom and stepdad lived “high on the hog” and wanted for nothing. We had “stuff” coming out our ears. We were also very unhappy. My dad and stepmom (and my three half-sisters) had nothing. I am not exaggerating. Except for a few pieces of furniture and a couple changes of clothes and the food in the cupboard, there were absolutely no extras. And yet life was fun, we were happy, and we had plenty to do. There was also virtually no stress in that household, despite being “poor”. Coincidence? Maybe, but I don’t think so. I am now almost 41, and I try to remember those differences while raising my own three kids with my husband.
Oh, and in reference to the clothes issue…I bring this up, because I had no idea that I was not the “norm”, but it works for me…My grandmother(last of the great frugal zealots)had one bra to her name and wore it every day. On Sunday nights, she handwashed it in the bathroom sink(as well as her hosiery) and then hung it up to dry. I thought that was normal, so that is what I have always done as well. I get a new bra as soon as my old one wears out, which is usually every two or three years. My husband, who was quite the ladies man back in the day, was confused when we were first dating. “Where are all your other bras?” he asked me. When I told him that I just had the one, he was shocked. He said that most of his past girlfriends wore a different one EVERY DAY, and then tossed them in the hamper. I am sorry if this makes me sound like a fuddyduddy, but I think that that is downright decadent!
I had a well-paying job but chose to stay home with my only child until she was in middle school. Then I got a job with the same hours and holidays. Money was tight but we always managed to give to the church and provide a few extras. Because we did so much with the money we had, one of my husband’s co-workers (with the same salary) asked in all seriousness if we had an outside income to help! My husband said “No. My wife is good with money.” We were both proud that we could do a lot with not a lot of money.
i agree with bea, jill your posts are not long winded and i enjoy re-reading some of the different posts again…
bea, can you post where you get those articles from the 1920’s or so? i know i would be greatly interested… i love that kind of stuff…
Alicia you are not alone. I also have only one bra. I am very large busted and have to order online. They are about $50 apiece. I buy one every year. I rinse it daily very well and hang it to dry. 2-3 times a week I give it a good handwash. I can’t imagine having matching bra and panty sets. LOL. Would be nice, but this works too. Whatever keeps them off the floor is good enough for me. :))
At my job one of my duties is to handle bankruptcy documents and Victoria Secret is a common creditor that many woman owe. Women buy hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars of “Undies” and don’t pay for them. Whenever I see that on a woman’s bankruptcy papers I always think how foolish it is to have too much underwear that you can’t even pay for it, so Alicia, you are right.
I get so tickled at our blog. It is so funny how we can go from the quote of the day to bras. : ) Thought I would join in too because I too only have 2 bras. My problem is finding one that fits comfortably. I even at one point went to one of those bra places that specialize in fitting and it was no help at all.
I’m not a woman’s liberer (sp) or anything be most of the time I would love to be one of those tribal women you see in national geographic who are allowed to be “free as a breeze”. : )
Rose, the books on homemaking from the 1920’s I bought from used books sales. I love antique books so I go to my library book sales which are 4 times a year, the University near me also has a yearly book sale that sells used books, I also have a used book store in my town I buy from. If you want books on homemaking from years ago look for a used book store. Also, you can search online for stores that sell old books. Good luck, happy hunting.
thanks bea, i will try that… i love all of those articles and books too… :D …
about bra’s … i have one good one and the rest are what i call old, older and oldest… bc i am an odd size and i try to be as frugal as possible, i get one good bra every xmas and the rest of the year, i use my other ones as needed… starting with the most comfortable to the least comfortable … right now i have 3 old ones but i lately i have been wearing this really comfortable one that my son’s friend bought me (she wears an odd size too) and its sorta like one of those sports bra’s… i cant seem to find anymore (i looked the other day in walmart) but bc of our size they normally dont carry it…
i cant imagine having panties to match … but i used to buy those lovepats that were sold in walmart.. now you can only get htem online and they are rather pricey but for me, and bc i dont splurge on myself like most women, adn i love the comfort of htese panties, i do order them online…
elizabeth, if you dont mind me asking, what company do you buy ur bra’s from online? …
i did see an article in a magazine (i cant remember which) and well, you have to be fitted but theere are stores in only a few area’s of the country and they are expensive but they last and are really excellent made (lots of support esp for the bigger busted ladies)…
yes jill you are right… hehehee… from one subject to the next … :D
thats why i too love this website … all fo the sharing … i feel like we are all sisters! :D :D
I recommend Big Lots for a good bra, oddly enough. I have big bosoms as well (as my grandmother would have said), and I need a really good supportive underwire. If you keep your eye open at Big Lots, you’ll occasionally hit pay dirt. I prefer the Bali Minimizer which retails for $38 at the department store, but I found the exact style and color at Big Lots 1 1/2 years ago, and paid $6.49 for it. Now that’s a deal! The downside is that they don’t have changing rooms (at least ours doesn’t), so keep your receipt in case it doesn’t fit correctly. (And I know what you girls are thinking…that I should have picked up several at that price…but I am getting older, and my boobs are shrinking…I am hoping to be an A cup by the time I’m 60…lol)
I have about 6 bras. With my disabilities I find that they are uncomfortable for how I am feeling from day to day.
So I have a few I can choose from.
Some do up in the front, some have only two hooks at the back.
I do have a couple with the underwire which only get worn occasionally because they stick me where I don’t want to be stuck.
One has wide straps and one has very thin ones. I would love to be able to get by with one or two and maybe someday I will be able to.
But size 38E does make them expensive. But having gone from an F down to a double D has cut the cost.
I know women with small boobs want large ones but I sure would like to be a bit smaller.
When I was 15 I walked around with a pile of books or in big bulky sweaters. My well endowed grandmother told me “you’ve got em, flaunt em.” took her advice but still didn’t enjoy having them. Always figured it would be nice to have guys (of any age) talk to my face instead of my chest.
My husband came home from someplace one day and placed a button he found in my hand. I wore it constantly for a while.
“don’t stare grow your own”
I look forward to only have to own 2 bras at a time.
Heather :) :) :)
That’s really true…because when we buy things we can’t afford, we are stealing from ourself, stealing from our “bank”, if you will, to pay other things more important, like bills and such. I’m having to constantly remind myself of that..it’s hard being in between jobs, but I like having the money to pay my bills..so I really think long and hard before I buy anything that is not a need. Oh, and I only use one kind of shampoo :) :) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)
Jill, don’t ever think any of your posts are “long winded”. Tawra and you have been given a gift from God, to help us understand we can live with less “stuff” and still enjoy life. Before i used to love going shopping for “stuff”, buying it with that pretty little plastic card, not thinking of the end of the month & having to pay it back plus interest. Since reading the posts you two write, i have “downsized” ALOT in my life. Clothes was the main thing, i started really looking at the clothes i had & got rid of things i didn’t wear or NEVER wore. I enjoy looking in my closet now, i have items that i like to wear, most of them have come from thrift stores & i enjoy them more because i look for name brand items & i get them CHEAP! I also loved buying purses, but now, i look at the thrift stores or garage sales for them. Last year i got a purse from a gargae sale that i LOVE-it is a Sak Fifth Avenue-Italy-purse, looks like a “carpet bag” I have had more women completment me on it more than any other i have carried. How much did i pay for it…$3.00!!!!! So i thank you so much for all of your posts “long winded” or not!! Some days we may need the longer “talking ” to!! :)
Thanks Debbie. You made my day. I just got finished struggling with a couple of posts I was writing and trying to keep them short. “They” in the “blog” business say we aren’t suppose to write anything over 1000 words and I am thinking that would just cover the first paragraph of what I want to say. :) It gives me a huge writers block or some kind of block when I have to worry and think about those things. Oh well so goes life. :)
Boy it sounds like you are on a roll and doing a great job with your spending. I love, love to hear the stories from our readers because as I have said before there are times when I think is what I write really making any sense or helping anyone so to get a testimony like yours and some of our other readers “tickles me pink”.
Keep up the good work.
PS cool deal on the purse. I have been trying find me a purse and just can’t seem too. I hate having to buy a new purse or wallet because I get so comfortable with my old ones.
This is a good way to think. Who wants to steal from themselves? We’re going through somewhat hard times right now, not terribly horrible but struggling nonetheless. We can still pay our bills and have some $$ for extras. I’m a big wrestling fan and go to Wrestlemania every year. It’s my major source of entertainment and as my two best friends live far away, it’s a major part of the time we spend together. We have many friends and there are parties we go to for the four nights we are away. Before in years past, I’d go out and buy outfits for each night. Having too many clothes, for this year’s trip I went shopping in my attic, and to my almost-complete surprise, I’ve found beautiful outfits I put together…with things I already own. If I continued to spend, my trip for next year could have been in jeopardy and I can’t let that happen. An added plus of shopping up there has let me found things to list on ebay and Craigslist, so there’s more $$ too. I realize that sometimes you just can’t squeeze something out of nothing, but I’m happy I was able to make things work a little easier.
Just my two cents :)
I know I am a guy, but I have a system for clothes that, I believe, can work for anyone (perhaps with modifications):
1) Every hanger in my closet is full. If I get a new piece of clothing, one must go.
2) Clean clothes are hung at one end of the closet, I select the clothes I wear from the other end.
3) It is OK to skip something a few days, but if I skip it for weeks, something is wrong. I either figure out what and resolve it, or out it goes.
With this kind of revolving system, nothing gets lost, over looked or never used. It works for me.